Monday, June 30, 2008

Halfway: 60 balls and almost 5 miles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today marks the halfway point in the Year of the Stash and with the help of a hat that has been riding around in my car for a couple months, I have reached 60 balls and 8745 yards of yarn used from the stash!!!!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sometimes having an insanely large pile of WIPs can really come in handy! A few more balls and I'll have used up the amount of yarn I bought to get ready for The Year of the Stash. After that, I really, really, really, REALLY will be reducing the size of the stash.

So, at this rate I could have used up about 65 yards of fabric and 17,000 yards/120 balls of yarn by the end of the year. That is a definitely a cause for celebration, so....

WHITE CHOCOLATE MARTINI TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

59!!!!

Tomorrow is the end of June and the halfway point of The Year of the Stash (nevermind that I've decided it might be a 2-year endeavor--I try not to think about that). To be able to say I've used up 59 balls by June 30 drove me to this:See where we're at?
Only one more swoopy, then the side and back edging. This also marks the end of the first additional ball of yarn I bought for this shawl, making me extremely glad I didn't just buy one. That I bought three was perhaps a little overkill, but put "discontinued" with "mind-numbing never-ending rows of edging" and it's amazing I didn't orchestrate a hostile takeover of Rowan to get their remaining stock of Kidsilk Haze Night.

Once I used up the 59th ball of yarn, I shoved the mohair episode into a bag and spent a little quality time at the sewing machine. I finished Andy's flannel pajama top today,

which is extremely fortunate as it was a nippy 104 degrees today. The house is so warm that it will probably be October before Andy will even be willing to try them on. I've already safely moved them to his closet so I can't lose them before then. I may not be able to find things, but I am a fast learner!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Progress and Not-So-Much Progress

Through tenacity, dedication, and bribery, I have finished 9 1/2 swoopies:
2 1/2 swoopies left. This was on my list as the knitting project to finish for June, but that would be a lot of swoopies in 2 days. I'm just not sure even a box full of merino would be sufficient bribery for that sort of torture....

Hibiscus for Hope progressed all the way to the short-row heel, which looks fabulous until
Unstretched, it's about an inch too long for my insanely-pale foot.

Some frogging will be occurring this evening. Luckily, it's so far off that I think I can eliminate an entire pattern repeat, which would mean the least amount of frogging and pattern editing. Or I can find a woman with feet 2 inches longer than mine.....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hibiscus For Hope

Things you can blame on Ramona:

* The Lady's Circular Cape being totally ignored this week
* My total lack of blogging because I'm completely enamored with her pattern I am test knitting
* That everyone is going to be getting socks instead of the lace scarves I had intended
* That I now REALLY want to buy one of Cat Bordhi's sock books--which I can't have because we're still in the middle of the 90 day spending ban
* I am going to stay up WAY too late tonight knitting, making the 5:00 AM wake up call for the gym an even more hideous experience than usual.

To be honest, I think I had become a little bit bored by socks and have only made the last few pairs because they were mindless and portable. I haven't purchased any sock yarn in probably a YEAR, so my sock yarn stash has dwindled to yarn for 11 pairs of socks (from a high of 23), making it quite possibly the most "reasonable" part of my stash. I have been using the same toe-up pattern because I don't like to "kitchener" (oddest name for a crafting technique ever. I mean, does one ever dining room-er?), and I use the same pattern over & over because I have it memorized. I haven't pushed myself to try anything new because the only reason I've been making socks was because they were simple & mindless.

Now, after my first free night all week, I have this:

a not too difficult and not too simple (and not really this fuzzy) lace pattern for the foot, and am totally fascinated by this:
That is the gusset shaping, which is happening on the bottom of the foot. Totally fascinating to me. It's like a good book--I can't wait to see what happens next.

A few details:

Knitpicks Essential Solid in "Petunia," which I did have in stash. Ramona graciously offered to send me yarn, but as this is for a fabulous cause AND I am keeping the socks at the end--not to mention the fact that my stash could put a few yarn shops to shame--I declined. As much fun as I'm having knitting this, maybe I should send a few balls to her?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Have Been Saved from the Swoopies!

Ramona has asked me to test knit a pattern she has written as a way to help raise money for a good friend. I'd like to think I would have agreed to help with such a great cause even if it didn't give me a whopping good excuse to avoid the swoopies for a few days, but let's just say that it might have helped her cause a bit.

In Knitting Land (unlike the Real World), good deeds are generally rewarded. Not only do I get to help someone who is helping a friend, getting a pair of great socks, getting away from the swoopies, I learned a fabulous new cast on for toe-up socks. Look at this:
OK, it might be really hard to see this, but you can't see the cast on AT ALL. I generally only make toe-up socks, but the pattern I have been using leaves a really rough line across the toe. I love this cast on! There is a video of it here, though I will admit that I cannot make it through the entire video. I am not really a "cutesy" person, so when Cat pretends that the knitting needles are talking to her fingers, I did really want to smack something. Hard. That is just me, of course, and I'm sure other people will find it cute/endearing/not in need of an intervention. The technique is quite fabulous, though, so I am quite grateful to Cat for filming it.

Incidentally, today someone landed on my blog because they did a Google search for "swoopies." What in heaven's name could they have been looking for?????????

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Confession....

I still haven't found where I stashed the in-progress top to Andy's Christmas pjs that I tucked away in November because I ran out of material. I think I might be able to piece together sleeves--after all, it isn't like he's going out in public in the things--but I don't know where I hid it!

Normally, I am the one who has the really good memory and the organizational skills, so this is doubly embarrassing. I have even cleaned the sewing room! (By cleaned I don't mean to imply that you can actually see much of the floor yet, but it is better.)

Who gives someone half a pair of pajamas?????

There are only 2 places I would have hidden something from Andy--my clothes closet or the sewing room. The former he wouldn't really ever have a reason to be in and the latter he'd be too afraid to. So that narrows down the options considerably and yet, here we are 7 months later still without a pajama top.

If I can ever figure out what it is, that is a darn good hiding place!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Knitting and I Needed "Time Apart" Today

I think I've had a swoopy overdose--I've started dreaming of mohair.

So today was declared Sewing Saturday. I had planned to make some summer clothes for Andy, but got waylaid by some very lovely flannel

for pajamas for Andy. Which would be so appropriate right now as it was over 90 degrees today.

Theo was his normal overly-excited self:and I am very proud to say that I caught this mistake before I actually cut out the material:
Note to self: Stacking pieces of material right-side up enables you to cut out exact duplicates of pattern pieces--not mirror images. At least if I can't stop myself from making mistakes, I am learning to double-check myself.

Tonight we have:
Finished pajama bottoms! And even more exciting:
this time I have enough material to finish a matching top!!! Now if I just don't stash this away & forget where I put it, all will be good! (Full story here)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Little Bit Better....

Last night the Stealth Project got all the attention,
largely because the skein was so close to the end that I was able to post the 57th ball used from the stash late last night. I was going to wait until morning, but I was so excited that I finally got out of bed to update the tally! Obviously, not buying yarn for extended periods of time is bad for one's sanity.

I spent a little time with the Lady's Circular Cape, but didn't make it very far on swoopy number 9 before I was just too exhausted to stay up any longer.
It turns out that it might not be the swoopies themselves that cause a problem. I caught Theo playing with the mohair,
and a few seconds later

I was not aware that mohair was powerful sleep aid. That could explain some of the problems with the shawl. Either that or the edging just goes on forever...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Aha! No One Else Has Had Time To Knit Either!

That should make me feel better--like I'm not being singled out by life--but it doesn't. Even when I can't knit, I like to know that knitting in general is going on, even if I can't be part of it. Like it's some big cosmic merino thing.

I have decided--we don't need a Knit In Public Day (June 14). We need a world-wide knitting holiday!!!!

Start recruiting folks. We need voters!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Know How Much I've Knit Today?

Nothing.

Zip. Nadda. Nothing.

Got off work late, did the grocery run as we are less willing to live on soup when it's 90 degrees out, unpacked groceries, had dinner, put the dishes away and WHAMMO! It's already 9:00!

That pesky work thing is SO getting in the way of my knitting. Too bad I need it to actually finance the knitting. Life is so unfair sometimes.......

Monday, June 16, 2008

56 Skeins and 8 Swoopies!

4 more swoopies to go!!!

And then of course, two corners, the side, and the back of the neck, but it will FEEL like it's done after the mind-numbing-bottomless-pit charmingly consistent edging on the bottom of the lovely shawl. (soothing herbal teas are doing so much for my outlook....)

The true love of my life lately is Sitcom Chic
This lovely work of art is knit on size 8 needles and worsted weight yarn that comes in skeins of a delightful 82 yards. I have now used up my third skein and will be joining the fourth after some, er, " quality time" with the Fluff Monster--formerly known as the Lady's Circular Cape.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Mohair Is Winning

Last night I just couldn't bring myself to face the mind-numbing-endless-abyss that is the mohair edging, so I spent a little time with Sitcom Chic:

And the Top Secret project:which is safe to photograph for a while as it is still in "amorphous blob" stage and could be anything--sort of like knitting in general.

I don't want to get distracted from finishing the Lady's Circular Cape after having come this far, but I just couldn't face the mohair again. To put things in perspective, I dug this out:

Many of my friends cross-stitch and they absolutely rave about it--how relaxing it is, how enjoyable it is, etc. I can actually see how it can be relaxing--there is something very soothing about doing little thread x's all over a piece of material. What I don't get is how there are ever finished cross stitch projects. It takes forever. I worked on this thing for at least half an hour and do not even have a square inch to show for my efforts.

Know who was looking pretty good by then?
7 1/2 swoopies now!

Toni is back in control! And talking to mohair.....that's probably not a good sign.....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

8000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, 8067. Even better.

Tomorrow night I'll be ready to face the swoopies again, but for tonight, I'm in it for the yardage!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Top Secret

The never-ending-mohair and I needed a little "apart" time tonight, so I spent tonight's knitting time with a project that I can't show you because it's a surprise. Since I can't show it to you, it would really be better manners to not talk about it as it makes me sound like either a spy or a 5-year-old with a "sharing" problem, but I just had to mention....

7985 yards of stash used up so far this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is over 4 1/2 miles of yarn used in a productive, knitterly manner, which has been a rule lately added as I don't think it really counts as "using" my stash if I am using it to insulate the walls of the sewing room. In moments of desperation, I am capable of almost anything.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Got One! I Got One!

See this?It's an entire ball of yarn. Completely used up & out of the stash. Bringing me to 53 balls used this year. That was SO rejuvenating! Rejuvenating enough to spend some time with this:
We've reached 7 swoopies now, which would be REALLY exciting if there were 10 swoopies. With 12, it's just one past the halfway mark. But at least it is PAST the halfway mark.

Slowly, slowly, slowly......

Monday, June 9, 2008

It Has Come To This

This freak of never-ending-mohair-edging has driven me to lengths no other project has ever done.

Yesterday, I cleaned the sewing room.

Not clean enough that I'm willing to post pictures of it or anything--let's not get crazy here--but it is cleaner than it has been since the Christmas Gift Blizzard of '07. Bare table has even been glimpsed.

Then, in a moment of true weakness, I slipped.....

In the corner, looking lost and a little shy, was a lovely worsted weight cotton

And I know--I have this great thing going with the mohair, but look at this:

82 yards to the skein and size 8 needles. SIZE 8s! With those I could knock 3-4 balls out of the stash each week!

I'm not proud, but....

before I knew what had happened, I had 7 rows of Sitcom Chic on the needles.

I was WEAK--beaten down by those unending rows of edging--1368 rows!!!! Can you blame me?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

THERE ARE 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are 12 swoopies, not 10!!! I'm not quite halfway.

Heaven help me, I may have just lost the will to knit.

I'm going to go clean the sewing room--that involves NO mohair and very little purple.....

And somebody needs a "time out:"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

5 1/2 Swoopies

Last night it was just me, the Lady's Circular Cape,a REALLY strange movie called Lord Love a Duck that I rented in honor of the passing of Harvey Korman and which I still don't understand, and the last of the original yarn for the cape:
I was truly planning on not blogging until I could say I had used up my 52nd ball of yarn, but that last little bit of yarn is much bigger than it looks. I just crossed over the halfway mark on the edging (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and still have enough yarn left for another swoopy.
Not that I wouldn't have run out of yarn, as I'm only halfway around the edging and it's a LOT of edging:
Jane Sowerby, I'm so glad I doubted you!

Not that she isn't a perfectly lovely person--I'm sure she is. But I think we can all agree that it's a good thing she didn't decide to become an accountant. Knitters might forgive you for being off by 20%, but the IRS is pretty touchy about stuff like that.

4 1/2 left to go!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

4

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons"
-- T. S. Eliot


"I have measured out my life with fluffy purple swoopies"
--Toni Sutton



I'm up to 4 swoopies now. It's not halfway, but it's 4 instead of 3. And the only thing that is keeping me from flinging myself at the stash to find something--anything--different to knit is the knowledge that I have only about 70 yards more on this ball of yarn and I can add it to the TALLY. Well, that and the white chocolate martini I have promised myself when I do finish this ball. I might bathe in them when I finally finish this shawl...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When I Am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple

This purple in fact--It might take me that long. See those swoopy-parts? The bottom of the shawl actually has 10 of them. I have knit 3. I have all this:
still left to knit. And this:
is how much of the original yarn I have left to use, which is about 100 yards.

I guess as long as I broke my one-year ban on buying yarn, I'm glad I just proved it was totally & completely necessary, but what if I hadn't been able to find more of the yarn???? Victorian Lace Today is so far off on yardage requirements that it is SCARY. I bought 3 more balls--681 EXTRA yards--and I might use up most of them!!!! That's a pretty big variance, even in lace knitting.

And on a related note, 46,000 yards of lace yarn might indeed be a bit.....well...insane, really, but I just used up another 227 yards--which of course makes a HUGE difference..... At this rate I could actually RUN OUT of laceweight--probably in 2015????

I shudder at the very thought......

Monday, June 2, 2008

Reasons to Have a Knitting Blog

* Everyone else has one, and you are such a "joiner" if merino is involved!

* No matter how awful the project is, the other on-line knitters will say nice things about it.

* Your family is sick of hearing about the intricacies of lace knitting.

* Knitting has become "hip" and it is the first time you are really "with it" and it needs to be documented.

* Even if you managed to sew the sleeve to the neckhole, someone online will know how to fix it.

* "Real life" people will find your stash insane. The online knitting community will be supportive. And a little jealous if it's REALLY big.

* When you are excited that your husband has scheduled a "Boys Night Out" and you excited that you will get quality time alone with some alpaca, the online knitters will understand.

And the number ONE reason:

The online knitting community is completely & totally fabulous!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Objects May Be a Whole Lot Bigger Than They Appear

The deceptive thing about some lace projects is that it really feels like you're almost done when you reach the edging. The reality is, you're not even close. I have been working on the Lady's Circular Cape pretty faithfully (for me) for the past couple days, and this is how far I've gotten.

It looks pretty far & feels pretty far until you look at how far I have left to go just on the bottom.

Those are some very closely scrunched stitches, and each of those requires 2 rows of edging. Doing a little math, which is rarely a good idea at such times but I did it anyway, there are 684 stitches on the needle by the time you finish the body. Each of those requires a minimum of 2 rows (sometimes 4, but that's just too overwhelming to contemplate right now), so the bottom ALONE takes 1368 rows of knitted edging. Then there are the 2 sides and the top as well....

Heaven help me.

The good news is that in the Year of the Stash Plan, this was optimistically listed as the June project. With a little dedication & possibly a shot of tequila, I just might finish it this month. That I actually believed I could start and finish it in one month does really illustrate the complete detachment from reality that has led to 46,000 yards of laceweight yarn in the stash.

If you're going to dream, dream big!!